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Conophytum [Koh-no-FY-tum] is native to South Africa and are in the miniature succulent plant types group.
They have a wide range of colors, textures, and forms.
Usually, these grow in mats or form clusters, but some of them prefer solitary growth.
Their bodies are sometimes windowed, warty, or velvety, lined or spotted, cylindrical, oblong or conical.
Conophytum can range in varying colors from shades of red and brown, to blue-green and green.
Size & Growth
This is a rather compact and small plant, which produces a thick foliage cluster.
They typically grow around 2” – 3” inches long but sometimes are even shorter in certain plants.
Throughout the years, this plant will begin spreading horizontally for producing a denser cluster various inches across.
They can spread across 2’ feet or more.
However, in cultivation, these plants are typically maintained in small sizes and grow about 2” – 4” inches.
This makes this plant ideal for those who have restricted growing space.
Grow a collection of this plant on a bookshelf or windowsill.
Flowering and Fragrance
Flowers typically blossom during the autumn season in Conophytum.
One flower resembling a daisy sprouts from the center of the plant and its color can vary from species to species but are typically white and pink or only white-colored.
With a collection of these plants, they look spectacular when they bloom together.
Light & Temperature
These plants prefer a rather bright environment and can take a couple of hours of full sun as well during the cooling period of the day to prevent sunburn.
It’s essential to get these plants gradually accustomed to bright light after their dormant season ends.
These plants don’t dislike the cold and can handle temperatures as low as 23° degrees Fahrenheit (-5° C).
However, the soil must be dry completely, and the temperature should rapidly return to normal.
Watering and Feeding
Once Conophytums bloom during October and November, it’s important to mist the plant once every two weeks.
When they resume their active growth, usually during late spring, it’s ideal for watering the plant once every week until summer.
These plants usually go dormant during the heat; it is best to water once every three weeks.
When they are actively growing, it’s best to water when you notice the leaves wrinkling or retracting in soil.
These plants are light feeders and might not even require any fertilizers until three years after being potted.
If you repot once every two years, then they might not need fertilizer at all.
It’s best to fertilize at the start of the growth period and again when it is about to flower.
Soil & Transplanting
There are various suitable soil mixes for these plants as per the species.
However, the most common features for the soil mixture in all the specimen is good porosity and higher drainage capacity.
Grooming and Maintenance
Conophytum starts vegetating in the winters and prefers to stay dry if it’s hot but wet once autumn arrives.
The moisture helps in stimulating the emergence of new root hair.
It grows throughout the winter.
The cultivation of this plant is rather easy, but it’s important to avoid overwatering it as this would lead to rotting.
When you notice the epidermis slightly wrinkling, it’s a sign the plant needs water.
Remove old and dead sheathes once new leaves start emerging to enhance the appearance of the plant and to maintain its hygiene.
Make sure you remove the dead flowers as well to avoid botrytis, fungal plant disease.
How To Propagate Cone Plant
Propagate Conophytum with sowing seeds and cuttings.
When you grow from seeds, it will require patience because the plant takes time to mature.
It is best to maintain the temperatures around 70° degrees Fahrenheit (21° C) to create an ideal environment for seed germination.
If Conophytum includes large leaf clumps and stems, then it is best to propagate through cuttings.
The ideal time to propagate is between October and November.
Cone Plant Pest or Disease Problems
This species is fairly problem-free but in some cases, root mealybug might occur.
It’s best to water the plant with an appropriate insecticide once every autumn as a preventive measure.
Spray contact insecticide in the growing season to keep the pest problem in control.
In some cases, tortrix moth caterpillars and snails might munch the plants, but these are easily hunted during the night.
Aside from this, the plant might experience swollen leaves which are typically caused by overwatering.
You will notice the skin of the leaves breaking when this happens.
Moreover, you might notice wrinkled skin in Conophytum during the summer, but it is pretty normal. Just misting the plant would be sufficient.
The leaves might change or lose color, which is caused because it is receiving less or more sun and bright light.
This is normal in a specific period in a year.
The more light it receives, the more color it will show; when it begins to grow again after dormancy.
Loss of color might be a result of the type of soil being used or nutrition deficiency.
However, typically, the common causes are the time of the year and light.
Suggested Conophytum Uses
Conophytum is best used as dish gardens where they slowly spread.
Use them as ornamental plants or in a window garden. They’re beautiful in rockeries.